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Penn State graduate charged for alleged involvement in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Capitol riots

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, supporters of President Donald Trump stand outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Black activists are coming out strongly against a growing narrative among conservatives that equates last week’s deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol to last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests over racial injustice.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

A man identified to the FBI by anonymous witnesses as a Penn State graduate was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Robert Morss, who is a substitute teacher for the Shaler Area School District, was arrested Thursday and charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, civil disorder, robbery of personal property of the United States and obstruction of official proceeding, according to a United States District Court criminal complaint.

As Americans prepared to watch Congress certify the electoral vote on Jan. 6, rioters stormed into the United States Capitol Building, attempting to prevent the tallying of the votes following a speech from President Donald Trump.

Morss was seen on video as part of a group that was involved with throwing objects and chemical irritants and physically assaulting Capitol police officers. He was allegedly seen at the frontline of the riot on videos posted to social media and YouTube.

According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint against Morss, he was observed on police body camera footage grabbing an officer's baton and attempting to "rip it away."

As Morss and others in the crowd were allegedly pulling on fences and assaulting officers, Morss was observed telling officers "take a look around, back up, we are going to take our Capitol back."

Morss remained in the crowd as police lines were breached and officers began to retreat. After forming a "shield wall" with riot shields, the rioters began to enter the Capitol through the Lower West Terrace tunnel, and Morss was seen on surveillance footage attempting to block or "take out" cameras.

Morss was photographed inside the Capitol after the group of rioters broke in through a window.

As a student at Penn State, Morss served as chairman of the "nationalist" student organization, the Bull-Moose Party. As chairman, Morss said he wanted to lead the group in a more "aggressive and organized" fashion and stressed his desire to "make America great again."

Morss was the second Penn State graduate arrested for alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 capitol riot after former Frutta Bowls manager and co-owner Julian Elie Khater was charged with alleged conspiracy and assault in March.

In a criminal complaint on Jan. 19, another State College resident — Brian Gundersen — was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building without lawful authority, engaging in disorderly conduct in the Capitol and demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol.


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